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A restaurant and hospitality design team sharing a few of our favorite spaces as well as our own work. We strive to be ambassadors of good design. Come take a look at what you're missing in your own city!Drop by the website for our most recent work;

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  • 08/23/13--06:30: Noodlebox
  • Name: Noodlebox
    Location: Shelbourne Victoria, BC
    Design: Evoke

    For a large chain, Noodlebox has done a great job re-imagining their brand. Using a limited color palate, custom fixtures, and a heavy hand of wood, the space is a balance of rustic and modern.

    Whether their intention or not, keeping the material and color palate limited allows them to replicate the design easily no matter the location or space size. 
    I love that they exposed the ceilings and created harmony throughout by carrying through wood as the main material. The contrast of concrete and steel adds a modern touch and keeps the space hip and on trend. 

    All photos © Evoke

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  • 08/28/13--06:30: The East Pole
  • Name: The East Pole
    Location: New York, NY
    Design: Phil Winser

    Intimate and warm, the interior of The East Pole is both industrial and nautical in a way that is neither themed or blatantly apparent. 

    The low ceilings add to the intimate nature of the space giving it an almost vessel-like feeling that works well with the nautical touches. 

    Using walnut, marble and black iron gives the space a classic feel allowing it to be polished with subtle industrial and nautical notes. 

    All photos © The East Pole

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  • 08/30/13--12:55: Pressed Juices
  • Name: Pressed Juices
    Location: South Yarra, Melbourne VIC
    Design: Unknown

    As the juice trend continues to expand throughout the world, I love seeing these shops & cafes step up their interior. Creating an environment that matches the product being sold is critical in the food industry today and Pressed Juices created a space fitting with their brand. 

    The minimal color and material palate creates a calming and cohesive space. This use of simplicity allows the vibrant colors of their product to be front and center. 

    The creative use of materials provides a large visual impact, adds extra storage and display space, and drives home the hand crafted and organic feel of their company. 

    Photos © Booke Holm for Share Design

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  • 09/03/13--08:49: Code Black Coffee
  • Name: Code Black Coffee
    Location: Brunkswick, VIC, Australia
    Design: Zwei Interiors Architecture 

    Utilizing an industrial warehouse shell, Code Black Coffee has created a raw, lab-like space that clearly demonstrates their passion for the bean. 

    Utilizing concrete, fiberboard, steel, and brick creates an industrial and urban feel throughout the space. 

    Each element within the facility, from the food preparation, coffee roasting, and serving are all clearly defined and remain open allowing guests a level of transparency into their operation. 

    Utilizing exposed bulbs and pipes, the lighting display over the metal wall-hung tables is a great reinterpretation of the ever popular exposed bulb and pip trends. 

    All photos © Michael Kai for Archdaily

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  • 09/04/13--06:30: Beasley's Chicken + Honey
  • Name: Beasley's Chicken + Honey
    Location: Raleigh, NC
    Design: Unknown
    Graphic Design: Joshua Gajownik

    When looking for restaurants to feature on the blog, I am more often than not scouring through ten to twenty spaces before finding one that is inspiration worthy. Usually, I get so excited when I find something beautifully designed and worth sharing, that I often forget the others that sadly fell short. 

    Beasley's is an example of a space I am finding all too common in the industry today. It is a space that forces me to ask myself, "Where is the design?"

    Let me explain after the jump.

     Ask any successful restaurant owner or restauranteur and they are likely to agree that what makes a guest return is an overall positive experience. This experience is usually the culmination of architecture, graphic design, interior design, menu/food execution, service, and atmosphere. 

    Think about the guest experience for a moment. More often than not, the guest experience either starts online (whether it be on your website, yelp, or other review site/web feature) or just outside your front door. (Again whether from walking by, arriving via car, etc.) 
    This is the restaurant's first impression; A moment to grab guest's attention and draw them inside. How do you grab that attention? Easy, this is where the architecture and graphic design work come in. Great graphic design work and the architecture of the building or exterior space, gives the guest the first impression as to what the space and concept is all about. It's your elevator pitch, so to speak. 
    This opportunity typically only lasts for a minute or two.

    Once a guest has made it into your space, they now take in the environment and begin to look over the menu. Once again, graphic design is key. The other component that now comes into play is interior design. What is the overall concept and is it known within moments of walking in the door? Also, does it coincide with what the exterior said? These initial moments inside usually last no
    more than ten minutes before orders are placed and menu's are taken away. 

    Now is the crucial moment, guests are waiting for food and drinks and eyes begin to wander. The discerning guest is taking in everything, whether they realize it initially or not.  Considering a guest can spend upwards of an hour and half in a sit down restaurant, why on earth would you forget the interior design?!

    This is ultimately the problem I have with Beasley's Chicken + Honey. You can tell that the graphic design work was taken seriously and that a graphic designer was ultimately hired and briefed on the concept and desire for the space. An architect was also on board, as is apparent from the exterior of the space corresponding to the graphic design work and concept. Unfortunately it ends there. The interior, while urban, is an assembly of off the shelf solutions from big box stores. While not entirely or always a bad thing, it does leave plenty to be desired in terms of details and layout. I enjoyed that the paper menu corresponded to the chalkboard menu and that they made it large enough to add some visual punch but it is clear that so many small elements where forgotten. It is often important to remember that an architect, while skilled, typically views buildings and construction from a macro scale. An interior designer is key to viewing your space from the micro level. Does the layout increase table turn over and profits? Are there enough server and bus stations at well placed and traffic free areas? How far do servers need to travel to deliver food and assist guests? All of these are questions that need to be thought of and answered by the chef, owner, and designer in order to create a successful space and experience. Forgetting these seemingly small elements can easily end a positive guest experience. 

    I was so excited when I stumbled upon the AC Restaurant website and even more excited when researching the logo and graphic design work. I had high hopes that the entire experience and concept would carry this level of attention and care throughout. Unfortunately I found this not to be the case. 

    The time spent inside your space, and the overall experience a guest has, is the key to creating a returning customer. In today's highly competitive restaurant market, it is crucial that all components of the experience are considered. 

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  • 09/06/13--06:30: Méjico
  • Name: Méjico Restaurant & Bar
    Location: Sydney, Australia
    Design: Juicy Design

    While Beasleys may have forgotten the design, Méjico is a great example of a space with a fully thought through design.  Using the menu as their starting point, Méjico emphasizes tradition, ingredients, and differentiates itself from the influx of Mexican restaurants popping up throughout Australia. 

    The use of bold color and pattern grabs your attention the moment you walk in and sets the tone for an urban, and slightly unexpected experience.

    What I enjoy the most about the design is that all of the details were thought of and addressed. The empty space under the banquette seating is filled with alcohol boxes. It's a subtle detail that most might not notice but addressing it elevates the space and adds an additional moment to drive their message home. 

    The hand crafted and raw aspect of the space is also a great contrast to the pattern and color and ties back into the raw and hand crafted nature of the cocktails and food being served. All aspects play together to create a cohesive feel and experience for their space. 

    All images © Contemporist

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  • 09/09/13--06:38: At The Chapel
  • Name: At The Chapel
    Location: Burton, UK
    Design: Ahmed Sidki & Catherine Butler

    A former 17th century congregation church found new life as a cafe, bakery, wine shop, and restaurant.  Keeping the original architectural details intact, the minimalist and warm interior showcases the goods and space perfectly.

    Utilizing natural materials and a minimal color palate, the almost Scandinavian interior, allows multiple functions to flow together while maintaining a cohesive feel.

    I love that the architectural details of this stunning building are offset and balanced perfectly by the minimalist and warm interior. 

    All images © Dee Purdy

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  • 09/11/13--06:30: SLA
  • Name: SLA

    Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Design: Nicemakers

    With the world taking a deeper look at it's food, how we eat, and the care of our ingredients, it's always fun to see how these ideas translate into built environments. While the US is focusing on farm to table, warm woods, raw materials, and an overall emphasis on the rustic and farm-like feel, SLA has gone in an equal, but opposite direction, focusing on the greenhouse.  

    The main focus in the lofted interior is the greenhouse-like structure over the counter. This large focal point directs guest to the heart of their space and to their overall concept and direction. 

    Simple furniture, and a neutral palate adds freshness to the space while drawing attention to the greenery that surrounds. 

    The walls showcase plants and other greenery, vintage gardening tools, and service utensils in a minimalist manner while the honey wood chairs and simple metal stools harken back to traditional greenhouse and exterior furnishings. It's always great to see how different regions interpret and showcase the similar idea of fresh, healthy eating. 

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  • 09/13/13--06:30: Elbow Room
  • Name: Elbow Room
    Location: Brooklyn, NY
    Graphic Design: mgmt. design
    Interior: Greg Yang Design

    I love it when the graphic design, identity, and interior all come together to form a cohesive space and presentation. The Elbow Room restaurants are a great example of this cohesive and thought through design. 

    Using simple materials, the very trendy pixilated graphics, and typography that ties back to the noodles being served, the entire space comes together to create a minimalist but warm space. 

    Once again, using a restricted color palate; this time yellow, black, and white, creates instant cohesion while tying into the iconic cheesy color so many of us recognize and love. 

    All images © Behance

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  • 09/18/13--06:30: Mikkeller Bar
  • Name: Mikkeller Bar
    Location: San Francisco, CA
    Design: Martin heid design/build

    An American take on a Copenhagen brewery, Mikkeller is as much a standout for it's location as it is for the design. 

    With blond woods, exposed brick, and industrial charm the space perfectly blends the Scandinavian lightness with the gritty and raw location.  Many of the design components remind me of Torst beer bar, located in Brooklyn.

     Teaming up with The Trappist of Oakland and Mikkel Borg, who opened the original Mikkeller Bar in  Copenhagen, the bar has high standards to be the best beer bar in the US.

    The large scale of the two story space is accentuated with large scale graphics, heavy steel posts and an all encompassing bar surrounded by minimalist bar stools.

    All images © Eater SF

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  • 09/20/13--07:35: Vinatería
  • Name: Vinatería
    Location: Harlem, NYC
    Design Jonsara Ruth

    Vinatería is a great example of vintage made new again; but in a pulled together and thought through manner. 

    More often than not, reclaimed and repurposed can typically mean it looks like you are walking into a flea market. With Vinatería, a little color helped provide cohesion between the elements and furniture and gave it a cohesive feel. 

    With the chairs getting half dipped (some on top, others on bottom), metal screens providing both entry doors and pattern play, and warm woods providing a warm, lived in feel, the space is comfortable but curated. 

    All images © Nytimes

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  • 09/23/13--06:30: Umami Burger Arts
  • Name: Umami Burger Arts
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    Design: Westin Mitchell

    As a chain of restaurants, Umami Burger did a great job crafting an industrial and warm space utilizing exposed, raw brick and muted tones. 

    The updated pendant fixtures using exposed bulbs are a great tack on the trend while allowing them to take on their own personality. While not adding much to the space, they were able to create a small bar and separate the open storage from the dining area by utilizing a custom reclaimed wood and metal structure. 

    I love that the colors of the brick, warm leather, and oxidized copper are used throughout the space to create a cohesive and warm interior. 

    All images © LA Eater

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  • 09/25/13--06:30: Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar
  • Name: Urban Coffee farm & Brew Bar
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    Design: Hassell

    Designed for Melbourne's Food and Wine festival, the Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar dissects the coffee beans travel. Utilizing the materials used for transportation, the pop up allows guests to interact and engage with the coffee making process. 

    Utilizing shipping containers and pallets; two items used continuously in the shipping of coffee, along with approximately 120 coffee trees transformed the public plaza into an urban jungle.

    By stacking the pallets and utilizing the existing red steps, they were able to create an oasis in the middle of the city. Thinking of the pallets as both furniture and architectural components allows visitors to define their own needs and use the space accordingly. Pallets can be sat on, used as tables, items to lean against, etc.

    I love that they showcased what is possible with limited materials and creative thinking. They were able to open up a discussion and engage visitors on the entire process of growing coffee beans, showcasing the process it takes to get the bean to your cup.  

    All photos  © Retail Design Blog

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  • 09/27/13--06:35: The Commune Social
  • Name: The Commune Social
    Location:Neri&Hu Design and Research Office
    Design: Shanghai, China

    The Commune Social is a great example of a well balanced, rustic meets modern, space. With small, compartmentalized interior spaces, each area is minimal and well defined.

    The rough wood and raw ceiling contrast the minimalist furnishings and clean-lined steel fixtures. 

    I enjoy that while raw and industrial, each seating area still feels warm and inviting; a great balance.

    All images © Archdaily

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  • 10/07/13--06:30: Clive Burger
  • Name: Clive Burger
    Location: Calgary, Canada
    Design: Unknown

    Clive Burger is a wonderful example of a fast casual space with a modern and fun interior. Utilizing cartoon-esq graphics paired with a restrained material and color palate, allows the space to feel whimsy while establishing a clean and modern space. 

    The use of custom furnishings allowed the seating and space to be maximized while keeping a harmonious overall feel.

    Images © Scout Flickr

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  • 10/09/13--06:30: Sitka & Spruce
  • Name: Sitka & Spruce
    Location: Seattle, WA
    Design: Unkown

    Located in Melrose Market, a vintage auto garage dating back to 1919 and 1928 respectively, Sitka & Spruce has quickly climbed to the top of my Seattle restaurant list. With an over the top open concept and location amongst exceptional vendors, it's easy to see why. 

    The converted garage spaces feature cement columns, exposed brick, and beautiful industrial windows. With the dining and kitchen sharing a singular space, you easily feel as if you are eating in someone's kitchen. 

    The industrial structure paired with classic paneling, industrial and vintage furnishings create a perfect mix of relaxed style. 

    Photo 2© Seattle Mag
    Photos 1, 3-5 © Kimberly Taylor Images

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  • 10/16/13--13:14: Gusto
  • Name: Gusto
    Location: Toronto, Canada
    Design & Photography: Munge Leung

    Revitalizing a former auto body shop, Gusto 101 crafted an industrial and intimate Italian trattoria.


    The use of vintage furnishings paired with the raw, industrial space creates an industrial interior that remains warm and authentic. 

    I enjoy that though they used multiple finishes and fixtures, the entire space feel cohesive and complete. By leaving the existing space relatively untouched and adding a level of finish to the food preparation areas, allows the space to remain pulled together and thought through. 

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  • 10/25/13--14:56: Duende
  • Name: Duende
    Location: Oakland, CA
    Design: Arcsine Architecture in collaboration with multiple local artisans.

    With today's highly competitive restaurant scene, restaurant owners know that the need to offer more than just a great plate of food in order to attract and keep guests. Duende, located in Oakland, California was crated with this in mind and offers a bit for everyone. 

    Located in a historic Art Deco building, the interior utilizes graphics and patterns to bridge the deco exterior and industrial nature of the space. 

    The large interior utilizes large amounts of worn wood and exposed brick to balance out the saturated and geometric murals.

    I love that while the space is large in scale, the warmth and amount of detail keep it warm and unimposing.


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  • 10/28/13--08:41: TanakaSan
  • Name: TanakaSan
    Location: Seattle, WA
    Designer: Unknown

    Warm, urban, and inviting TanakaSan, located in Assembly Hall, has it all going for it. As one of a handful of dining spaces among the Assembly Hall collection, TanakaSan faced some interesting special challenges.


    With the kitchen separated from the dining space, a small bar was added which allows breakfast to be served in the morning and adds extra seating for casual drinks or overflow diners. 

    The space is open, light, and industrial but remains comfortable and warm. The constant movement of the space and doors that open onto the patio add energy to the space and allow it to keep a constant connection to everyone coming and going through the building.

    All of the tables are clean lined and light with airy black slat seating. Proving the restaurant is anything but traditional, each table is outfitted with a plastic animal (typically a dinasour of some sort) adorned with a metal chain and/or plant situated in its back.

    All images via Via6 Facebook, Suzie Pratt Flickr , & Unknown

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  • 10/31/13--06:30: Picnic
  • Name: Picnic
    Location: Paris (Concept; Not Built)
    Design: Studio Ko

    Picnic, a concept restaurant created in Paris showcases how minimalist design, paired with bold pattern, can create a vibrant and fun experience. 

    Using worn wood and unadorned walls allows the patterns to be the star. By keeping the patterns all geometric in nature, ties the multiple elements together create a bit of harmony within the space.

    All images © Studio Ko

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